The Dazzle of the Light – Georgina Clarke

When the light catches a diamond what women can resist. Well none of the Forty Thieves it seems, and especially of them – Ruby Mills. Beautiful and an eye for beautiful things, Ruby is one of the best thieves, but she wants to break out on her own and not be beholden. When you are in deep with the forty Thieves, there is it seems no way out.

Harriet Littlemore, from the right side of London, her marriage prospects are good but she still wants to forge her own path in life. Which is why she is dabbling in journalism, she writes pieces that the editor thinks women want to read about. Harriet desires to read pieces about the gritier side of life.

She gets her chance when she witnesses a robbery, and goes on to publisher her piece about it, with a rather good drawing of one of the perpetrators – Ruby Mills.

Two sides of London, two sides of society and two sides of the law. Harriet and Ruby gravitate towards each other, Ruby shows Harriet another side of life whilst Harriet shows Ruby that with money you can have freedom and not be restricted. What neither of these wonderfully drawn characters realise is that both lives and both their worlds have their own restrictions. The main one they share is they are other female.

It’s the 1920s, the decade is about to start ‘roaring’ and the scars of the war are being eradicated through frippery and finery and the muscle of the men that did come home, used to get what they want now that the whole world has shifted.

This is a great piece of historical fiction and I it had me drawn in form the beginning, as the story unfolded of these women. The supporting characters were rich in description and quite frankly despicable in some cases. The plotting, the deviousness could not be forgiven with some but when these desparate women were turning to all sorts to simply survive, you did suddenly realise how unfair class, society and gender can be and in some cases still is an issue.

This books is one to be read along Kate Atkinson’s latest, the two complement each other so well and the richness of the storytelling is excellent. It has brought a period of history that I was slightly aware more to the forefront and I hope to read more about these fascinating people that seem to be forever missing in history.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

The Dazzle of the Light is out now.